Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez

Anyone who possesses such an appliance will escape the severity of summer – at least at night.

In a tribe where there’s a shortage of water, anyone who possesses a bucket of that precious fluid will feel superior to the rest of the horde.

Similarly, the owner of an air conditioning unit in Havana will have reasons to feel different from the rest of us.  This is because here, anyone who possesses such an appliance will escape the severity of summer – at least at night.

Around this time of year the temperatures have begun to remain high at night, and since I don’t sleep well, I worry about heat adding to my quasi insomnia.

It would be great to go out and buy an air conditioner.  However, in Cuba these devices are not sold in any official marketplaces.  Moreover, if you find one being sold illegally, you probably won’t have the $500 USD that they go for.  Though I have two professional jobs, my annual wage is around $150 USD.

To conserve fuel, the State decided to prohibit the sale of these appliances to the public, though without consulting us.

The shortage of what is vital almost always ends up reducing morale, with the result being —in places of extreme shortage— that people adopt behaviors that are as unpredictable as they are inappropriate.

Hopefully my longing for relief from the nighttime swelter won’t introduce such immoral ideas in my mind as the possibility of inequality being created by the Cuban State between its leaders —who almost all sleep with air conditioning— and the people.  Nor do I want to think that it’s unjust because they pay me a wage that prevents me from buying a cooling unit.

I have as my main goal in life to continue thinking that everything that happens to me is absolutely natural, especially those things done “for my own good.”

That’s why I don’t care about the closing of almost all of the operating rooms in Havana hospitals for repairs —including the servicing of broken air conditioners— if our health care professionals are writing glorious pages in earthquake-torn Haiti and Chile.  Ah, and they sleep without air conditioning there.


Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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